What's happening with the Roma from Kosovo Balkan now?

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Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999 09:56:51 +0300 (EET DST)
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Subject: What's happening with the Roma from Kosovo Balkan now?

From: MINELRES moderator <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>

Original sender: Roma National Congress <romnews@romnews.com>

What's happening with the Roma from Kosovo Balkan now?

Kumanovo / MACEDONIA (RNN Correspondent), July the 7th, 1999
The end of the war in Kosovo was accepted with big joy on the Balkan.
But it can't be said for the Serbs and the Roma from Kosovo. The Roma
people from Kosovo are sad now with presence of big revolt, because
every war was bringing great troubles to them. Military and political
targets of NATO, and the Albanians are fulfilled, the information on
the media tell us about coming of real democracy, where every citizen
no matter what color of skin, sex or religion can work, create and
show his opinion with freedom. For the Albanians from Kosovo, the war
has to bring new future. But it can't be said for the Roma from
Kosovo. Everyday Roma from Kosovo are forced to flee from their homes
 the cities Prizren, Gnjilane, Pristina, Urosevac and to settle in
the inner parts of Serbia - Belgrade, Nis, Leskovac, Bujanovac. Over
500 Roma in Pristina are exposed on frequent attacks of Albanian
revolted groups, the representatives of KFOR are protecting them,
there are unofficial information about some Roma people killed and
maltreated women. All those information are coming from the Roma
refugees and some foreign independent journalists are confirming it.
There are no official information about the Roma sufferings, this is
not the first time of course, Roma people in the camps during the war.
The only official information was the one of June 6th after incident
in the camp Stenkovec in Macedonia when Roma refugees from Kosovo were
beaten by the Albanians. Everything is the same now, Roma people are
beaten, killed, forced to flee from their homes.

One refugee from Pristina (50 years old) said:
"I ran away from my home where my grandfather lived, everything I had
was over there, where will I go with my family, what shall we do I
don't know. Everything that we want is a little truth for the Roma
people, we didn't want the war but we are the victims. It is
impossible for me to go back."
There will be no Roma for very short time in Kosovo, those who will be
Albanians on their documents no matter if they like it or not. I
haven't had any conflict in the recent period on the hand are not
similar, the same is with the people, there are good Roma, Albanians,
Serb, but there are bad too. Those who made the bad things have to be
tried, but all the Roma or Albanians or Serbs can not be bad. "I will
try to go Germany, France, these are the nests of real democracy they
say, and maybe as Roma I won't have the problems that are current in
Albanian refugees from the camps and the families they were
accommodated in Macedonia are going back to Kosovo. Only the Roma are
afraid to go back after the information about the pressure on them in
Kosovo, the maltreatment's and beatings. The Roma refugees don't know
what will happen with them. When will come the time for their coming
back, or when will the state - UNCHR take them home. They can not
leave to the European countries, faced with big uncertainty.
Roma people, problem in Kosovo
Great worry they made to us because our informing is not a description
or review of some happening detail from the culture of the Roma. Our
informing is considered as crime, miss fortune that a compassion of
all Roma in the world. Informed on the mass leaving or deportation of
the Roma from Kosovo, the program coordinator of Roma Community Center
"DROM" Kumanovo  Ramis Osmanovski together with the outer
collaborator  Martin Demirovski, we made a visit of Bujanovac,
Serbia. On 25.06.1999 the representatives of "DROM" Kumanovo have made
on inspection of the field or visit of the Roma who flee from the
regions of Kosovo, more exactly from the cities Gnjilane, Urosevac,
Podujevo etc. During the few hours visit of Bujanovac, Serbia they had
spotted the following facts: Organized or little groups of Roma in the
region Gnjilane, Urosevac, Podujevo are leaving in the southern region
of Serbia. The basic and unique reason why Roma people are leaving
their homes is the aggression done by the Albanians, more correctly
KLO. Great pain and problem was the interviewing of those Roma people.
Some of them were not able to give such interview because of their bad
emotional and physical condition. We have spotted the great sorrow,
worry and injuries of those people.
Our first interviewer, 30 years old R.B from Gnjilane, we could hear
its own story and it ran like this:
"coming back from the bus-station toward my home, a group of Albanians
wearing black trousers and T-shirts with the sign of KLO on their
shoulders came in front of me. They told me to go with them. We went
toward their headquarters. When we came there three soldiers of KLO
started to ask questions whether I'm carrying a gun, and if I don't
have one do I know someone in my neighbor hood or somewhere around
with a gun. Since I didn't have such information and I myself didn't
have a gun they continued with their maltreatment and they started to
beat me with metal stick. I didn't know who was possessing guns and
therefore they started to beat me so severely that I couldn't for 4
days neither with my legs nor with my hands. Second case driving is
about one 32 years old Roma who was driving his car to Gnjilane to see
his family. The same guy was stopped by a KLO-OCK group and beaten so
much that his body was full of injuries, he was beaten over his sex
organ even. The wounds and injures were still recognizable. Such cases
of beaten Roma them were in big number. In this moment in Bujanovac
3500 Roma refugees who have left their homes under pressure of the so
called KLA of Kosovo. Roma Community Center "DROM" Kumanovo sentences
this act of cruelty and crimes against the Roma from Kosovo, it
sentences the Albanians political and nonpolitical movement which in
this moments doesn't have any respect toward our nation.
Our organization proclaims sentence to their silence too, which is
maybe a license for such act of aggression and maltreating by their so
called KLA. The genocide of the Roma is not the first case, they
always followed by a pro-fascistic ally oriented armies who were
pointed and still are, toward clean ethical states. Because of it, we
ask for urgent and efficient access this problem that means fast
organizing of humanitarian help consisting food and clothes, forming
of camps for accepting Roma refugees form Kosovo, cooperation of
international humanitarian organizations. Along with the relevant
factors UNCHR should take part too, representatives of the Roma and
Albanian movement in Kosovo and Macedonia.

On the other hand we would like to inform you that Roma Community
Center "DROM" Kumanovo already works on funding a solution for this
problem. In the same time we acting and turn to you for coordinated
acting and collaboration with all relevant institutions, for the
general aim of helping the unsecured Roma and creating conditions for
mutual life of all nations existing in Kosovo.

Activities of Roma Community Center "DROM"
The representatives of the organization are watching the situation of
Roma refugees in Macedonia and Europe every day. In Poland, Czech R,
Slovak, Hungary there are Roma accepted as refugees, accommodated in
camps, and they afraid to communicate with Roma and Roma organizations
in the countries where they are. The representatives of DROM: Ramis
Osmanovski and Martin Demirovski went to some cities in Yugoslavia,
nearer to the border with Macedonia. They considered the situation of
the Roma refugees from Kosovo, it is very delicate difficult, those
people don't need food but a solution for their actual situation, how
and where to go on? It is impossible for Roma representative of some
Roma organization to go to Kosovo in this moment. In the next days
Roma will meet new problems, larger number of Roma refugees from
Kosovo are expected to enter Serbia and Macedonia.
The Roma organization from Macedonia, the Roma member of the
parliament Amdi Bajram, the mayor of Suto Orizari-Nezdet Mustafa, are
still actively working and acting in giving help to the Roma refugees
from Kosovo located in Macedonia. RCC"DROM" Kumanovo is providing help
continuously and further on for the Roma refugees and the social cases
in Kumanovo. Some help is received from the Makedonski Centar za
medjunarodna sorabotka MCMS, Karitas-Essen with residence in Skopje.
The help received from one Roma organization from Australia was big
relief in giving help to the Roma. In this moment 3000 Roma from
Kumanovo together with the refugees are covered, they will receive
help consisting of food and hygienic means. Foe 2115 Roma some help is
received from MCMS, for 200 along with the refugees form Karitas Essen
and for the rest the help is provided by on Australian Roma
Organization. Roma people on Balkan are going to meet very hard days,
months, they appeal not only humanitarian help but finding a way,
actualization of the Roma problems in front of the world institutions
because it is the unique way to the Roma future.
Dear friends, in period of 10 days, I wasn't able to give information,
more correctly I took part following a conference in Sofia where the
following topics were discussed:
Sofia, 17-19 June
In Sofia, from 17-19 June was held Balkan conference dedicated to the
situation of Roma (Roma refugees from Kosovo, the situation of Roma in
Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia. Croatia, Slovene, Bosnia).
Under the organization of Human Rights Project from Sofia the
conference succeeded big interest, let's mention as a reminder the big
number of representatives of Roma organizations, foreign media,
representatives of European governmental (OSCE - Nicolae Georghie,
Petar Atanasov - Concil of Ministry of Bulgaria, Josephine Verspaget -
European Center - Budapest) and other organizations.

The panel discussions were consequences and the actual situation of
Roma. By the representatives of Yugoslavia, Roma refugees from Kosovo,
Roma representatives from Roma NVO s (Roma Center Skopje,
Avutnipe-Skopje, RCC"DROM" Kumanovo, Martin Demirovski contact
point-OSCE Macedonia) all the participants were acquainted with the
problems the Roma people are faced with. All the participants
presented very similar information, Roma people are discriminated,
Roma are banished, and killed. The representatives of the European
Council for Roma Questions, Ms. Josephine Verspaget, said that they
don't have enough information for from presented things. The Roma
refugees from Kosovo at their presenting said that they want to go
back to Kosovo, in their homes, but now it is impossible because the
Albanians are full of revolt and hate upon them. To go to some other
countries is impossible, some terrified, Roma are declaring themselves
as Egyptians. The world institutions, foundations, humanitarian
organizations have made only few contacts and helped the Roma refugees
from Kosovo. The Roma question is treated more by the non-Roma, they
prepare projects, seminars and conferences with very small developing
effects on the Roma. Such example is Kosovo, as long as the war was on
there wasn't such big interest for the Roma, and it appears for
realization of the aims of non-Roma. 

Because of the bad situation of the Roma from Balkan, a conclusion was
brought for Roma refugees and it runs: "Help is needed urgently,
security and respect of the human rights as a unique conditions to
stop the discrimination and racism toward Roma, proclamation rights
status of Roma as a nationality, political rights for the Roma
refugees, safe return in informing for the Roma refugees, starting
with debates on the rights of the Roma refugees. The mentioned
conclusion will be sent to NATO, OSCE, European Council, UNCHR. From
21-24 June in Poland Roma National Congress held its board- meeting
where the situation of Roma in Kosovo, Balkan and Europe was
discussed. Many decisions were made with general aim of finding urgent
and effective solutions for many present problems. The member
organizations of RNC got acquitted with the decisions made and they
activities for improving the situation of Roma people in Europe.

Along with the beginning of the war in Kosovo, RCC "DROM" Asmet
Elezovski started with giving information on Internet
(http://www.romnews.com) about the situation of Roma on Balkan 
After two days only many information's came from one side of the world
(Australia, USA) to another (England, Sweden). I thought my
information won't be interesting and people won't pay attention to it
at all. I haven't slept for so many nights, I was giving my best, I
was seeking for real information, information that can be accepted as
The information were changing every day, I was writing reports and
very soon in day or two my information were officially approved.
Thanks, to the RomNews Network, and the Editor in Chief Marko D.
Knudsen and his team we succeeded to give, information with quality,
objectivity and truth to the world. Few foreign radio stations
presented my interviews in live. How sad and terrified I was because
of the war and the suffering of Roma people. But in the same time I
was very cheerful because of the fact that Roma succeeded to inform
for themselves, to make a benefit on their own. We made big efforts
and labor, spent a lot of money on telephone calls, travels, but we,
me and my friends from DROM, don't regret a thing, because we
succeeded to give information from Roma people, actual and true in the
same time. Dear friends, I will work on the field of giving
information to people further on, but I wish if it is not war. I thank
to all of you for your support, to my friends from RCC "DROM" most of
all to my college interpreter Oki and to the Editor in Chief of the
RomNews Network  Marko D. Knudsen.
Donation Bank Account
Stopanska Banka a.d.Skopje
Broj na smetka:40100-620-42  20625
ZPP-Kumanovo- 40900-678-6121
Roma Community Center "DROM"Kumanovo
Lokalitet serava prizemje 7a, 91300 Kumanovo
Kumanovo 07.07.1999
Asmet Elezovski is Board member of the Roma National Congress 
Emails: asmet@romanatioanlcongress.org
Note from the editorial office:
Germany's Hotline on Kosovo Refugees in Germany, they said they will
provide help in finding family members.
Telephone: + 49 911 943 77 77
RomNews is published by the Roma National Congress on a Non-commercial
European Central Office:
Simon von Utrechtstr. 85
D - 20359 Hamburg, Germany
Phone: ++ 49 40 319 42 49
Fax: ++ 49 40 31 04 75
URL: http://www.romnews.com
Emergency Hotline: ++ 49 170  58 12 852
Editorial Office: editorialoffice@romnews.com
Send News to: news@romnews.com
Comments: comments@romnews.com
RomNews Network: rnn@romnews.com
Moderator Listserver: m.knudsen@romnews.com

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